People have probably told you to record yourself play guitar and then listen back, and you may wonder why it’s important. The best analogy I can think of is a dance studio. The walls are covered with mirrors so the dancers can see their form while they practice. They can see if they are actually getting their leg high enough, or if their back is straight enough, and so on. Without the mirror, in their mind they may think it’s all good, but they really don’t know. The mirrors that surround them give them instant feedback, and they can instantly adjust.
‘The recording is the musician’s mirror. When you record and listen back, you can listen to see if your time is good, if you sound relaxed, if your execution is clean, if your ideas are coherent, and so on. Essentially, you can hear what other people hear when they listen to you play guitar.
The most important thing is what you do with this clear and honest feedback. Use the feedback to help you know what to practice. If you don’t record yourself, it’s hard to know exactly how you sound. A funny thing happens when you record more and more. You begin to learn your personal quirks and are able to correct negative tendencies in real time. That’s a big step in the right direction.
It might be rough to hear yourself play guitar at first, but it’s important to know the truth about how you sound so you can make improvements.